THE RIGHT TIME FOR DBS Therapy For Parkinson’s Disease


DBS Therapy is a personal decision — one you and your doctor should make together. The right time for DBS is when your medications still work, but not as well as they used to. 


Have had Parkinson’s for 4+ years
Have had movement symptoms and/or medication side effects for 4+ months
Respond well to Levodopa
Have movement symptoms not adequately controlled by medication

A decision that won't wait.

You're probably taking medications to help control movement symptoms like tremor (shaking), slowed movement (bradykinesia), and stiffness (rigidity).

One common Parkinson's disease medication, levodopa, is typically very effective at first, but less so over time. As Parkinson's progresses, doctors prescribe more or different medications, and have you take them more often. The higher doses may not bring the relief you need and can lead to side effects like nausea, dizziness, or unintended movements (dyskinesia).

If you wait until your medications no longer help, DBS will no longer be an option — so don't think of DBS as a last resort. Instead of just putting DBS off until someday in the future, talk with your doctor about it now. That way, you will be ready to start at the right time for you.

Watch for these signs that your medications are not working as well as they used to:

  • You have movement symptoms like tremor and stiffness for more hours a day.
  • After you take a dose, you wait longer for your medications to work.
  • The medications' effects wear off between doses.
  • You have to take medications more often, including during the night.
  • You need a higher dose to get the same effect.
  • Side effects of your medications are becoming a problem for you.

Use this interactive symptom tracker and questionnaire to help you or your loved one guide the conversation about your symptoms with your doctor.

DBS Therapy for Parkinson’s is not for everyone. Not everyone will receive the same results. Patients should always discuss the potential risks and benefits of the therapy with a physician. A prescription is required. DBS Therapy requires brain surgery. Risks of brain surgery may include serious complications such as coma, bleeding inside the brain, stroke, seizures and infection. DBS Therapy may cause worsening of some symptoms. See Important Safety Information.

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Actual patient not pictured

Find a Parkinson’s specialist

Use our online directory to search for Parkinson's specialists by ZIP code. Find a doctor who will understand your needs and treatment options, and call for an appointment.

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Talk with someone who has DBS

Get the information and support you need to make a confident decision about DBS therapy.

Contact us

  • If you or your loved one are considering DBS therapy and would like more information, call us at 877-438-3574, Monday-Friday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. CT.  

  • If you or your loved one are currently a Medtronic DBS patient and have questions, please call Medtronic Patient Services at
    800-510-6735, Monday-Friday 8 a.m.-5 p.m. CT.

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Medtronic DBS Therapy for Parkinson's Disease and Essential Tremor Clinical Summary, 2015.